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Chaka Blackmon

Artist Info
Chaka Blackmon

Base of Operations:
Los Angeles

producer, songwriter, musician, vocalist/rapper, performer, Celebrity Status Entertainment CEO/President

M-Audio Gear :
Axiom 25

If versatility is the key to surviving in the music game, then there’s none better than Chaka “The ChakFather” Blackmon. With work spanning between majors and independents as well as genres and demographics, this songwriter/producer/musician/performer has a knack for providing the whole package. A Detroit native, his first major break was a remix for Impromp2, but he soon topped that with songs for gospel greats CeCe Winans and Dawkins & Dawkins. However, his vision was larger and Blackmon formed the production company Celebrity Status Entertainment.

By 1999, Blackmon was working on such hits as Christina Aguilera’s “Come On Over,” “Christmas Time,” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.” Then Blackmon turned his attentions to other avenues of music—television, film and independent labels and artists. In 2001, Blackmon worked with David Foster on the hit reality series Popstars and Popstars 2 as a producer and songwriter. Soon he had placements for such movies as Brown Sugar, The Cheetah Girls, Garfield: The Movie and Rebound. As a vocalist/rapper, he has performed the themes for the MTV Networks show Yo Mama as well as Disney’s  Jetix and Power Rangers: Mystic Force. He has also created cues for the shows Bands Reunited, Pimp My Ride and Date My Mom.

Chaka Blackmon
Producer/Songwriter/Drummer (Christina Aguilera, CeCe Winans, MTV)

Chaka Blackmon on M-Audio hardware: “The Studiophile BX8a’s are a great sounding speaker. I love listening to music from them because it gives great clarity to my mix, but they also give me that warm, deep feeling and power. I've been pushing my BX8a’s forever and they never go out on me. I’ve blown many speakers from other companies and I've never blown a pair of BX8a’s.

“I use the Keystation Pro 88 on everything. It's my controller of choice, because of all of the parameters that I can manipulate with the knobs and faders. I don't think there is any other keyboard out there that gives you the level of control that the Pro 88 does.

“I travel overseas with my M-Audio equipment a lot. My setup is either a 17-inch PowerBook G4 or the new MacBook Pro. I always travel with the Ozonic or FireWire 410, which I run my microphone through. The 410 splits the signal into whatever DAW I’m using, from Ableton Live to Pro Tools. That piece is an integral part of my studio because it allows multiple microphones to go to multiple sources at one time. All of this goes inside the M-Audio Studio Pack, which is the ultimate musician's carry-around bag. M-Audio provides me with devices for every situation that I could possibly be in.”

Blackmon on M-Audio software:
“Pro Tools is a staple in the recording world.  When it first came out it was the ultimate digital recorder.  Since then, it's developed into not only a great, stable recorder—Pro Tools M-Powered 7 is stepping up the game with the new MIDI sequencing capabilities.”

What defines his sound: “Well, it starts with the song first.  It's always about the song. I think that when you start from a great song, then everything else kind of falls into place.  Then the production comes, that's the secondary part of it.  When you write a great song, it can cross over to so many different genres. It may be a pop song today and be a country song the next day. That's pretty much my process and philosophy on where I start from a production standpoint.

“When I begin production I start on piano. I started doing lyric and melody before I played any instrument, from the time that I was seven. I've been writing a song a day since. But when I write from a production standpoint and we're starting with the music, I write on piano. This is why I like the Keystation Pro 88 so much, because the hammer action keys feel like real piano keys.”

Why M-Audio? “The main thing about M-Audio products that I love is the stability in the professional world.  The digital age changes a lot of things because you're allowed to do so much more and hold so much more information. But most important has been the consistency and the stability that M-Audio has provided with all of their products.

“I'll always use M-Audio. There isn't a time or a project in the past seven to eight years that I haven't used an M-Audio product. I'm doing a lot of independent projects with different labels, and still doing work for FOX and Disney.  In every situation, M-Audio software and hardware is used.  I can't pull up a song without using either Ableton or Pro Tools M-Powered, testing my mixes through M-Audio speakers or playing an M-Audio keyboard.  There isn't a project that would go out without M-Audio being used in some kind of way.

“I'd like to say to everybody that if they haven't tried M-Audio to do so. I tell people constantly to be on the lookout for the new products that are coming out.  I'm really happy with the gear that I saw at NAMM last year.  This year, once again, M-Audio is going to show why they've been the pioneer in the industry that they have been over the past few years.”